Author: harrietengle

Mystery Series Reviews |

Savage Run coverSAVAGE RUN
C. J. Box, Joe Pickett #2

In Savage Run, we go back to Wyoming where Sheriff Barnum candidly asks “Why is it, Game Warden Pickett, that we rarely if ever have any trouble in my county, but every . . . time we find dead bodies strewn about you seem to be standing there in the middle of them?” That comes in the aftermath of an exploding heifer that left a huge crater, several dead cows, and a lot of questions about the human remains found at the site.

The legend of Savage Run involves the Cheyenne Nation outwitting the Pawnees by finding an escape route through an impossible-to-escape canyon that only a few intrepid explorers had been able to duplicate. It becomes the only way out of a very sticky situation for Game Warden Joe Pickett and two companions.

C. J. Box packs a punch with this mystery, emphasizing the protection of the environment and Game Warden Joe Pickett’s fight with those who used power, money, and politics, like hobby rancher/lawyer Joe Finotta, to ravage both the wildlife and the land. As in Box’s Open Season, we see Joe Pickett on the low end of income and prestige but on the high end of doing what he believes is right.

Next: Murder on the Links, by Agatha Christie

Harriet Engle, a Staff Assistant at the Manheim Community Library, is an avid reader of several authors who write murder mystery series. Look for her weekly reviews highlighting each of these series.

Note: If you decide to start one of the series being reviewed and wish to read the next in the series, go to www.fantasticfiction.com, type in the author, and scroll down to see which book was written next under that series. The Manheim Community Library may not have the book you want, but staff will be happy to order it for you from another library.

You can also find and request the next book in the series right from the LSLC catalog. Search the book you have just read from the search bar at the top right of manheimlibrary.org. Click on the title to open up the book information and then scroll down to the section marked “Series”. At a glance, you can see the series and where the book you searched is in the series. For series of more than 14 titles, click on the button below that says “See Full Series”. To request another title from this section, just click on the cover and it will take you to the screen to request a copy from the Library System of Lancaster County to be delivered to Manheim Community Library (or another library in the LSLC.)

Mystery Series Reviews | A Dangerous Mourning

A DANGEROUS MOURNING
Anne Perry, William Monk #2

A Dangerous Mourning is the second of the William Monk series, and we are once again in London. Monk continues to grapple with his loss of memory, trying to do his job daily while wishing for, and waiting for, jolts of memory to return. Ms. Perry keeps us in suspense about Monk’s return of memory, or lack thereof, all the while continuing to build for the reader Monk’s personality as an intelligent detective and an irascible human being. The murder of a young woman, Octavia Haslett, a member of an elite and wealthy family, assists Ms. Perry in establishing Monk’s difficult yet sensitive personality.

Ms. Perry also brings to a conclusion the murder of the first novel as she weaves in the trial of the accused murderer of Joscelyn Grey. While Monk investigates the murder of Octavia Haslett, he and Hester Latterly testify for the defense at this trial. It is here that we are introduced to Oliver Rathbone, the brilliant attorney for the defense, and a man who plays significant roles in subsequent novels.

An ongoing narrative about how William and Hester feel about one another ensues: both of them admiring certain aspects of the other and at the same time finding considerable fault with the personality of the other. Two additional characters play large parts as this series progresses: Lady Callandra Daviot, who supports both Monk and Miss Latterly; and Sergeant Evan, who assists Monk in his investigations.

Early on in his investigation of the death of Mrs. Haslett, Monk discovers and discloses to Octavia’s father that it can be nothing other than a crime committed by someone in the household. Miss Latterly, currently working at an infirmary, once again becomes involved in the investigation.

Next up:  Savage Run by C.J. Box

Harriet Engle, a Staff Assistant at the Manheim Community Library, is an avid reader of several authors who write murder mystery series. Look for her weekly reviews highlighting each of these series.

Note: If you decide to start one of the series being reviewed and wish to read the next in the series, go to www.fantasticfiction.com, type in the author, and scroll down to see which book was written next under that series. The Manheim Community Library may not have the book you want, but staff will be happy to order it for you from another library.

You can also find and request the next book in the series right from the LSLC catalog. Search the book you have just read from the search bar at the top right of manheimlibrary.org. Click on the title to open up the book information and then scroll down to the section marked “Series”. At a glance, you can see the series and where the book you searched is in the series. For series of more than 14 titles, click on the button below that says “See Full Series”. To request another title from this section, just click on the cover and it will take you to the screen to request a copy from the Library System of Lancaster County to be delivered to Manheim Community Library (or another library in the LSLC.)

Mystery Series Reviews | The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern

THE CAT WHO ATE DANISH MODERN
Lilian Jackson Braun, The Cat Who series #2

In The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern, we travel back to Chicago to find Jim Qwilleran down and out:  he must move out of his apartment, aka “homeless;” the moths are putting holes in his favorite neckties, aka “tieless;” he has no viable dating prospects on his calendar, aka “womanless; and if things do not go well when he goes to the office, he could be out of a job, aka “jobless.” Fortunately, he is not friendless. His bright spot is Koko, his extraordinary and intelligent feline companion for the past several months.

Thus begins the second of Ms. Braun’s “Cat Who . . .“ series. Jim Qwilleran loves to solve crimes, and to do so he uses some extraordinary measures. One is his very bushy moustache, which tingles when he becomes suspicious of something or someone and when he notices something just not quite right with a situation. Also, after living with Koko for several months, he learns to use his feline partner’s unusual communicating skills. Koko is not just another cat – Koko knows things that elude the supposedly “higher intelligence” of the humans in his world. In order to help him understand his intelligent friend, Qwill seeks out the help of a psycatatrist.

When he arrives at the office all primed to speak to the chief about work more challenging than the boutique assignments he has been doing, he surprisingly learns that he has been given a new assignment – a newspaper magazine on interior decorating – even though he admits to knowing next to nothing about interior design. In spite of doubts about his qualifications, Jim sets out to publish a magazine that will make a decorator’s dreams come true, except when things go terribly wrong.

Once again, Ms. Braun takes us on a mystery adventure, and we all know that in a murder mystery series, someone is about to be murdered, and solving a crime makes Qwill’s moustache twitch and tingle and brings out more of Koko’s communication skills.

Next up:  A Dangerous Mourning, by Anne Perry

Harriet Engle, a Staff Assistant at the Manheim Community Library, is an avid reader of several authors who write murder mystery series. Look for her weekly reviews highlighting each of these series.

Note: If you decide to start one of the series being reviewed and wish to read the next in the series, go to www.fantasticfiction.com, type in the author, and scroll down to see which book was written next under that series. The Manheim Community Library may not have the book you want, but staff will be happy to order it for you from another library.

You can also find and request the next book in the series right from the LSLC catalog. Search the book you have just read from the search bar at the top right of manheimlibrary.org. Click on the title to open up the book information and then scroll down to the section marked “Series”. At a glance, you can see the series and where the book you searched is in the series. For series of more than 14 titles, click on the button below that says “See Full Series”. To request another title from this section, just click on the cover and it will take you to the screen to request a copy from the Library System of Lancaster County to be delivered to Manheim Community Library (or another library in the LSLC.)

Mystery Series Reviews | Death at La Fenice

Death at La Fenice coverDEATH AT LA FENICE
Donna Leon, Guido Brunetti #1

We travel to Italy for this next murder mystery, Death at La Fenice, and look into the world of opera and talented well-known musicians and the death of an internationally well-known conductor. Donna Leon describes Venice, the canals and waterways, and the life of the police detective, or commissario. Guido Brunetti, a man in his mid-forties, married and with a son and daughter, conducts the investigation into the death of Maestro Helmut Wellauer.

The overwhelming odor of almond points to the cause of death: poison by cyanide. The question of who would murder the maestro loomed over Brunetti, and the police commissario travels throughout Venice and beyond to interview those currently and previously associated with Wellauer, his main thrust of questioning being to find out about the man’s personal life.

Ms. Leon introduces the reader to all walks of life, including the talented and wealthy musicians of the opera to the formerly talented and formerly wealthy former musicians of the opera, all of whom could be prime suspects. She also weaves in a good glimpse of Brunetti’s personal life, introducing us to his wife, his two children, and his wealthy in-laws. She adeptly keeps the true identity of the person who took the life of the maestro a mystery – and why.

Next up: The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern by Lillian Jackson Braun

Harriet Engle, a Staff Assistant at the Manheim Community Library, is an avid reader of several authors who write murder mystery series. Look for her weekly reviews highlighting each of these series.

Note: If you decide to start one of the series being reviewed and wish to read the next in the series, go to www.fantasticfiction.com, type in the author, and scroll down to see which book was written next under that series. The Manheim Community Library may not have the book you want, but staff will be happy to order it for you from another library.

You can also find and request the next book in the series right from the LSLC catalog. Search the book you have just read from the search bar at the top right of manheimlibrary.org. Click on the title to open up the book information and then scroll down to the section marked “Series”. At a glance, you can see the series and where the book you searched is in the series. For series of more than 14 titles, click on the button below that says “See Full Series”. To request another title from this section, just click on the cover and it will take you to the screen to request a copy from the Library System of Lancaster County to be delivered to Manheim Community Library (or another library in the LSLC.)

Mystery Series Reviews | A is for Alibi

A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton coverA IS FOR ALIBI
Sue Grafton, Kinsey Millhone #1

Sue Grafton wrote a series of murder mysteries based in Southern California – Santa Teresa and areas surrounding Los Angeles (at least in this first novel). The titles of her novels begin with a letter of the alphabet – A Is for Alibi, B Is for Burglar, and so on. The main character, Kinsey Millhone, is a private investigator who doggedly tracks down the killers, putting information together like pieces in a puzzle.

Nikki Fife has just been released, on parole, from prison after serving eight years for murdering her husband, Laurence Fife. She says she did not do it and has hired Kinsey Millhone to find the real murderer. Laurence Fife was a philandering husband involved in numerous affairs. He pushed his first wife, Gwen, out of their marriage, taking with him all the money and assets, along with their two children. He then married Nikki.

Another death took place shortly after the death of Laurence Fife. Libby Glass died in the same manner, something Kinsey finds very intriguing, and the question arises: are they connected? Once she begins her investigation, two more people die.

Ms. Grafton skillfully weaves quite an interesting and dangerous web.

Next up:Death at La Fenice, by Donna Leon

Harriet Engle, a Staff Assistant at the Manheim Community Library, is an avid reader of several authors who write murder mystery series. Look for her weekly reviews highlighting each of these series.

Note: If you decide to start one of the series being reviewed and wish to read the next in the series, go to www.fantasticfiction.com, type in the author, and scroll down to see which book was written next under that series. The Manheim Community Library may not have the book you want, but staff will be happy to order it for you from another library.

You can also find and request the next book in the series right from the LSLC catalog. Search the book you have just read from the search bar at the top right of manheimlibrary.org. Click on the title to open up the book information and then scroll down to the section marked “Series”. At a glance, you can see the series and where the book you searched is in the series. For series of more than 14 titles, click on the button below that says “See Full Series”. To request another title from this section, just click on the cover and it will take you to the screen to request a copy from the Library System of Lancaster County to be delivered to Manheim Community Library (or another library in the LSLC.)

Mystery Series Reviews | The Cater Street Hangman

THE CATER STREET HANGMAN
Anne Perry, Charlotte and Thomas Pitt #1

The Cater Street Hangman coverAnne Perry wrote another murder mystery series featuring Charlotte and Thomas Pitt. In the first book of the series, The Cater Street Hangman, the two were not an item. Charlotte Ellison lived with her wealthy family in an elite part of London. She was forbidden to read the newspaper, however, her father often left it lying out, and she would sneak a read as much as possible. After all, her father reasoned, the contents of the newspaper were not suitable for young ladies to read.

Sarah Ellison had married Dominic a year before, and even though she had come to terms with her infatuation with Dominic and her sister’s marriage, Charlotte retained a slight “crush” on him. Both Dominic and Sarah become dominant characters as this mystery unfolds. Grandmama also maintains a high level of importance, and Charlotte values Grandmama’s knowledge of all the exciting things and people of the past:  Waterloo and Napoleon; the Crimea; scandals of the royals; and Florence Nightingale. This series is set in the 1880s, and Thomas Pitt comes into the scene when a second local woman is found in a neighboring street, hideously and brutally murdered.

Ms. Perry again tastefully describes the class differences in this series – the elite and wealthy, the household servants, as well as the public servants such as the police – and she does it so as not to leave any questions in your mind as to who is important and who is not.

Up Next:  A is for Alibi, by Sue Grafton

Harriet Engle, a Staff Assistant at the Manheim Community Library, is an avid reader of several authors who write murder mystery series. Look for her weekly reviews highlighting each of these series.

Note: If you decide to start one of the series being reviewed and wish to read the next in the series, go to www.fantasticfiction.com, type in the author, and scroll down to see which book was written next under that series. The Manheim Community Library may not have the book you want, but staff will be happy to order it for you from another library.

You can also find and request the next book in the series right from the LSLC catalog. Search the book you have just read from the search bar at the top right of manheimlibrary.org. Click on the title to open up the book information and then scroll down to the section marked “Series”. At a glance, you can see the series and where the book you searched is in the series. For series of more than 14 titles, click on the button below that says “See Full Series”. To request another title from this section, just click on the cover and it will take you to the screen to request a copy from the Library System of Lancaster County to be delivered to Manheim Community Library (or another library in the LSLC.)

Mystery Series Reviews | Everywhere That Mary Went

EVERYWHERE THAT MARY WENT
Lisa Scottoline, Rosato and Associates #1

Everywhere that Mary Went cover

The Rosato and Associates series by Lisa Scottoline takes us to Philadelphia and is a bit different in that the main character, Mary DiNunzio, is a lawyer. It focuses mostly on justice rather than the detective work we have been reading about in the other series. Ms. Scottoline provides us with plenty of drama, suspense, life-threatening happenings, and untimely and unnecessary death. She writes a running narration of a young lawyer in the big city who must face her fears and stare down the enemy.

Mary DiNunzio works for a large law firm in Philadelphia and eagerly awaits the election of new partners for the firm, of which she has been told she is one of three likely candidates. However, between now and then, she presents just her second oral argument, and that she must do in front of a crude and rude judge. On top of that, someone is making anonymous and silent phone calls, and Mary also believes she is being stalked. Both the professional and personal chaos builds into a crescendo that culminates in the death of her secretary and friend. In the thought processes of a professional young woman on her own, everyone becomes suspect.

 

Next up:  The Cater Street Hangman by Anne Perry

Harriet Engle, a Staff Assistant at the Manheim Community Library, is an avid reader of several authors who write murder mystery series. Look for her weekly reviews highlighting each of these series.

Note: If you decide to start one of the series being reviewed and wish to read the next in the series, go to www.fantasticfiction.com, type in the author, and scroll down to see which book was written next under that series. The Manheim Community Library may not have the book you want, but staff will be happy to order it for you from another library.

You can also find and request the next book in the series right from the LSLC catalog. Search the book you have just read from the search bar at the top right of manheimlibrary.org. Click on the title to open up the book information and then scroll down to the section marked “Series”. At a glance, you can see the series and where the book you searched is in the series. For series of more than 14 titles, click on the button below that says “See Full Series”. To request another title from this section, just click on the cover and it will take you to the screen to request a copy from the Library System of Lancaster County to be delivered to Manheim Community Library (or another library in the LSLC.)

Mystery Series Reviews | The Cold Dish

THE COLD DISH
Craig Johnson, Longmire #1

The Cold Dish coverWe are not traveling too far with this week’s review, but we are returning to Wyoming. This trip takes us again to the Big Horn Mountains, the Powder River, a different county (Absaroka), and a different town (Durant). The characters, too, are different:  Walt Longmire is the sheriff, Vic Moretti is his deputy, and Henry Standing Bear is Walt’s best friend.

Sheriff Longmire is a widower with a daughter, Cady, who is a lawyer in Philadelphia. He has been the sheriff of Absaroka County for much of his adult life and is considering retirement. There isn’t much crime in this part of Wyoming, but what Longmire has experienced haunts him, especially a case involving a young Native American girl, Melissa Little Bird, who was allegedly gang-raped by several high school jocks. Melissa was born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Longmire highly respects the Native American people, their customs and lore, and cares deeply for those under his jurisdiction. He also cares deeply for his staff and the colorful residents of Absaroka County.

As Walt is doing his weekly study of the file on Melissa, he is notified that there is a dead body in a ditch. Since those who find this dead body have a notorious reputation for being mostly drunk, Walt discounts the report and sends his deputy, Vic Moretti. Unfortunately, there is a dead body, one of the boys involved in the Melissa Little Bird case. Walt now wonders if this was an accidental shooting or intentional. If intentional, then the lives of the other boys may be in danger as well.

Next up:  Everywhere That Mary Went by Lisa Scottoline

Harriet Engle, a Staff Assistant at the Manheim Community Library, is an avid reader of several authors who write murder mystery series. Look for her weekly reviews highlighting each of these series.

Note: If you decide to start one of the series being reviewed and wish to read the next in the series, go to www.fantasticfiction.com, type in the author, and scroll down to see which book was written next under that series. The Manheim Community Library may not have the book you want, but staff will be happy to order it for you from another library.

You can also find and request the next book in the series right from the LSLC catalog. Search the book you have just read from the search bar at the top right of manheimlibrary.org. Click on the title to open up the book information and then scroll down to the section marked “Series”. At a glance, you can see the series and where the book you searched is in the series. For series of more than 14 titles, click on the button below that says “See Full Series”. To request another title from this section, just click on the cover and it will take you to the screen to request a copy from the Library System of Lancaster County to be delivered to Manheim Community Library (or another library in the LSLC.)

Mystery Series Reviews | Iron Lake

IRON LAKE
William Kent Krueger, Cork O’Connor #1

Iron Lake coverFrom the high country of the Guadalupe Mountains, this week’s book review takes us to Aurora, Minnesota, in St. Louis County, just this side of the border with Canada. Like the mountain ranges of Texas, this county is rough and wild. Krueger does an excellent job, in my opinion, of describing the isolated lakes and desolate woodlands of this northernmost part of our country. He does this while his main character, Corcoran (“Cork”) O’Connor solves a few very gruesome murders.

Cork was the sheriff of Aurora, Minnesota, keyword being “was.” After an unfortunate event involving the death of a close friend, Cork was relieved of his duties. He also was living with his wife and three children, but putting it mildly, his marriage with Jo was on the rocks. And then the very dead body of Judge Parrant was discovered by the newsboy, Paul LeBeau, on one of his two routine paper routes. This discovery set in motion a complex hunt for both Paul, who disappeared, and the person who cold-bloodedly murdered the judge. Being an investigator at heart and part Native American Ojibwe by blood, Cork is naturally drawn in, along with his participation requested by those who trust him, to find the young boy and the ruthless killer.

Krueger has a style of writing that keeps you reading. His knowledge of the Native American people and their ancient customs, along with the lay of the land, makes for some very good reading.

Next up: The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson

Harriet Engle, a Staff Assistant at the Manheim Community Library, is an avid reader of several authors who write murder mystery series. Look for her weekly reviews highlighting each of these series.

Note: If you decide to start one of the series being reviewed and wish to read the next in the series, go to www.fantasticfiction.com, type in the author, and scroll down to see which book was written next under that series. The Manheim Community Library may not have the book you want, but staff will be happy to order it for you from another library.

You can also find and request the next book in the series right from the LSLC catalog. Search the book you have just read from the search bar at the top right of manheimlibrary.org. Click on the title to open up the book information and then scroll down to the section marked “Series”. At a glance, you can see the series and where the book you searched is in the series. For series of more than 14 titles, click on the button below that says “See Full Series”. To request another title from this section, just click on the cover and it will take you to the screen to request a copy from the Library System of Lancaster County to be delivered to Manheim Community Library (or another library in the LSLC.)

Mystery Series Reviews | Track of the Cat

TRACK OF THE CAT
Nevada Barr, Anna Pigeon #1

Anna Pigeon had a nature-lover’s dream life: a Law Enforcement ranger in the Guadalupe Mountains of West Texas. Her assignments involve wandering the high country for days searching for evidence of specific wild animals – high country that includes deep canyons, ponderosa pines, limestone walls, the great expanse of Texas sky, and dead bodies, dead human bodies.

So begins this series featuring Anna Pigeon. You will learn that Anna has experienced tragedy and loss in her young life. Her “escape” into the wilderness of National Parks gives readers a glimpse of each park as she travels from one assignment to another, experiencing the vast ruggedness of North America, from coast to coast. Ms. Barr masterfully describes each park and skillfully takes Anna, and you the reader, through some rather spine chilling tragedies involving some rather strange and ruthless people.

Back to the dead body Anna discovers in a deep limestone canyon. It is the body of a fellow ranger, one whom Anna knows only in passing; however, Anna does know that Sherry Drury was known to rock some boats and irritate a lot of people. After her discovery, Anna must scramble back to where she gets a radio signal and can alert District Ranger Paul Decker of her find. Thus begins the unraveling of the mystery of this woman’s death, an unraveling in which Anna finds herself deeply involved, and a mystery which brings Anna close to becoming a dead body herself.

Up next:  Iron Lake, by William Kent Krueger

Harriet Engle, a Staff Assistant at the Manheim Community Library, is an avid reader of several authors who write murder mystery series. Look for her weekly reviews highlighting each of these series.

Note: If you decide to start one of the series being reviewed and wish to read the next in the series, go to www.fantasticfiction.com, type in the author, and scroll down to see which book was written next under that series. The Manheim Community Library may not have the book you want, but staff will be happy to order it for you from another library.

You can also find and request the next book in the series right from the LSLC catalog. Search the book you have just read from the search bar at the top right of manheimlibrary.org. Click on the title to open up the book information and then scroll down to the section marked “Series”. At a glance, you can see the series and where the book you searched is in the series. For series of more than 14 titles, click on the button below that says “See Full Series”. To request another title from this section, just click on the cover and it will take you to the screen to request a copy from the Library System of Lancaster County to be delivered to Manheim Community Library (or another library in the LSLC.)

 (If you do not see the full description that includes the “Series” section, you can also click on the book cover. This will bring you to a screen with a blue header and the book cover. Click on the link for Series and it will bring you to a list of all the books in that series. You will need to go back to the catalog to search and request it this way, though.)